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Should we pay taxes to a wicked government?

q.gif (1639 bytes)  This could be a little long. I read your response to taxes which is what I would expect. However, as you stated the more we sin the more we have to pay government to compensate. To compensate government creates more taxes by enacting statutes which are used as guidelines for the imposition of taxes. Tell me, if there was no law that required you to pay a tax would God's law require it? And if paying that tax meant I was giving up rights that some say were inspired by God should that tax be paid? Further, if that tax is extracted through ungodly acts such as deceit and theft.

    I'm sure you know what I'm getting at, the income tax is not sanctioned by law! And believe me I know the Title 26 code and its application as you know the Gospels. As sure as I know Jesus was crucified and shed his blood to wash my sins I know that the income tax is a lie.

    A little more than 200 years ago our ancestors delivered this Country to us through their blood and beliefs. It was based on their Christian principles. I believe God inspired them. Part of that inspiration was the Constitution which clearly defined how we were to be taxed. The methods used today are not at all what was defined. Nor did the 16th amendment make that provision (contrary to unstudied beliefs). The great men who founded the country believed that the fruit of our labors were ours and the Constitution was designed to insure that ideal.

    I want to please God and I have to ask myself, is God pleased if I support corruption when I am aware of the corruption? Does Matthew 22:17-22 tell me to give Caesar what is lawfully due or or when he asks for it (without law) give him everything? And if you do where does it stop?

    Finally, my last thought on this is I have no problem supporting government when they are not imposing values that are against my Christian beliefs and my love for Jesus. My values say don't support lies, deceit, and fraud even when promoted by government. I believe that there are a number of examples of men who stood against the government for their values i.e. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And what about Paul and Jesus?

    I guess what it boils down to is would Jesus (as just and true) support the payment of unjust and untrue taxes would he allow deceit to be perpetrated?


a.gif (1659 bytes) Thank you for your question. Many Christians who have researched this area of taxes are frustrated when they find out how the tax system came to be in this country, and also question what to do about it.

    We have a Bible Course due out on the subject of money (actually it was due out last Spring, but I am a little behind, as you can see!). I am enclosing the section on this question, and encourage you to print it off and look up the Scriptures and fill in the blanks.

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A. Does the government have the right to charge taxes of its people?

1. Matthew 22:17-21 says "Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is is lawful to give ______________ unto Csar, or not?

2. Verse 18 says, "But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this __________ and superscription? They say unto him, Csar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto ____________ the things which are Caesar's; and unto ______ the things that are God’s."

 

Note: Jesus made it very clear — the government does have the right to collect taxes from the people.

 

Note: The word "tribute" means, "Money paid from one ruler or nation to another for protection from invasion; a tax levied for this; a tax paid by a vassal to an overlord; any forced payment" (Webster’s New World Dictionary).

In the Jew’s case, it was a forced payment to the Roman government which was ruling over them at the time. They wanted to get Jesus to criticize the Roman government so they could accuse Him before them.

 

Note: The 1980’s and 90’s have been a period of Patriot and Militia movements in the United States. Involved in some of those groups are tax evaders. They believe that the government does not have the right to charge taxes of its people, and many of them even use the Bible to try and prove their case. Jesus clearly says, "Pay the government the taxes that are due."

 

Question: But what if the government is a corrupt government? Does that mean that we still have to pay taxes to such a system?

 

B. Does a Christian have to pay taxes to a wicked government?

Note: To the above verses, some people say, "The Christians in Jesus’ day had to pay taxes, but our government today is wicked! If you pay taxes to our government, then you are supporting abortion, because part of your tax dollars pay for abortions. You are disobeying God and going against His Word if you support such wickedness!"

How do you answer such an accusation? The answer to that is not that difficult. Simply consider the government of Rome in Jesus’ day when this command was given. The Roman government was over Israel at the time. They allowed the Jews to govern themselves in little, everyday matters, but not in the larger decisions — like capital punishment.

 

1. In John 18:28-31, the Jews are bringing Jesus before Pilate, the Roman government official, to request that he sentence Jesus to death. In verse 29, Pilate says, "What ____________________ bring ye against this man?"

2. The Jews did not like the Roman officials ruling over them, as is seen by their response in verse 30, "If he were not a ____________________, we would not have delivered him unto thee."

 

Note: That was a very rude and vague reply to one who was just asking a question, and trying to do his job to see that justice was done in this situation.

 

Note: A malefactor is "one who commits an offense against the law."

— Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary

 

3. Pilate does not want to play their foolish game, so he tells them in verse 31, "Take ye him, and judge him according to ________ law."

 

Note: This shows that the Roman government let them take care of the lesser matters.

 

4. But the Jews knew their limits under the Romans, so they were quick to point out to Pilate in the last half of that verse, "It is not ____________ for us to put any man to death."

 

Note: They wanted the death penalty for Jesus, and they knew that the Romans would never let them do that to any person on their own.

 

Note: The bottom line is this. Pilate was the official judge over Jesus’ trial. What was his verdict? John 18:38 says, "I find in him ____ fault at all."

So what did Pilate do, release Jesus? No. Look at John 19:1, "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and ________________ him." "Scourging" is "whipping" a person. Jesus was totally innocent, but Pilate had Him whipped. Why? To try and appease the Jewish leaders.

But was Pilate having second thoughts about Jesus’ innocence? Was Pilate beginning to think that maybe Jesus really was guilty? No. John 19:4 says, "Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find ____ fault in him."

Again in John 19:6 Pilate says, "I find ____ fault in him."

In John 19:12, the pressure gets more fierce, and the Jews actually try and pressure Pilate that he is not being loyal to his own Roman government. "Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not _______________ friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."

Finally, after more pressure on Pilate in John 19:16, "Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be __________________. And they took Jesus, and led him away."

It was the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus. John 19:23 says, "Then the ________________, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part."

 

Question: The point is this, HOW MUCH MORE WICKED COULD A GOVERNMENT POSSIBLY BE, THAN TO PUT TO DEATH THE TOTALLY INNOCENT AND PERFECT SON OF GOD? That is exactly what the Roman government did. They put to death the only Person to ever live a perfect life upon earth.

The religious tax evaders say, "If you pay taxes to a government that allows little babies to be put to death in the womb (abortion), then you are a murderer!"

It is terrible wickedness to put precious little babies to death by abortion. But there is one thing even worse — TO HAVE PUT THE PERFECT, PRECIOUS SON OF GOD TO DEATH. But it was to this very government — the wicked Roman government that put Jesus to death, that Jesus made His statement that they were to pay what was due to the government.

 

Note: But some still argue, "Well the Scripture prophesied that Jesus had to die, so that does not count." But what about others that the Roman government put to death later?

Acts 12:1,2 says, "About that time Herod the ________ stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed __________ the brother of John with the sword." Herod was the Roman king of that area, and he killed one of the apostles, but that was not all that he planned to do.

Acts 12:3 says, "And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take __________ also." He was planning to put him to death after Easter, according to verse 4.

It was of this Roman government, that the instructions went forth to the churches in Romans chapter 13. Verse 1 says, "Let every soul be ______________ unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." That does not mean that God always approves of their decisions, as back in the case with Pilate. A conversation took place between Pilate and Jesus in John 19:10,11. "Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from __________: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin."

 

Summary:

1. Number one, government leaders only get into power because God allows them. Psalm 75:6,7 says, "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But ______ is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."

 

2. Number two, government leaders will answer to God for how they have ruled. Remember that Jesus did not say unto Pilate, "That is okay, you are innocent." Jesus simply said unto him, "He that delivered me unto thee hath the ______________ sin." (John 19:11). They ALL SINNED in letting an innocent person die — the Jewish leaders, as well as the Roman leaders — but the GREATER SIN was on the part of the Jewish leaders who had the Word of God, and should have received Jesus as the Messiah and Savior.

 

3. Number three, a Christian has to sometimes disobey a law of the government when it would cause him to directly and personally disobey a law of God. Such was the case in Egypt.

 

Note: In Exodus 1:15,16, the king of Egypt told the midwives, "When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall ________ him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live."

The midwives chose to obey God, which meant disobeying the king of Egypt. In verse 17 it says, "But the midwives feared God, and did ______ as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but saved the men children alive."

 

Note: Some of the tax evaders claim that if we pay taxes, then we are no better than the the doctors and nurses who perform the abortions, or the German soldiers who obeyed Hitler and slaughtered the Jews. But from the above example, we see that that is a false accusation.

If the government commands you to kill innocent people, then you have to disobey the government and take whatever punishment comes to you. But paying taxes to the government does not make you a murderer because of what they do, or do not do with the money that they collect from you. They will be the ones who answer to God if they misuse their power as government leaders. It was of the wicked Roman government that the Christians in the churches were commanded, "Render therefore to all their dues: ______________ to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour" (Romans 13:7).

 

Note: So the answer is "Yes, God does expect a Christian to pay taxes, even to a wicked government."

In a free country, we are all the more responsible to get out and vote, and elect righteous people into office. But even if we do not succeed, we still have a duty as citizens to pay our taxes.

There has never been a more wicked government than Rome — the one that crucified the innocent Son of God, but Christians were told to even pay the taxes due to that wicked government.

We are thus commanded to pray earnestly for our government officials in I Timothy 2:1,2, which says, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, ________________, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For __________, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."

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END OF BIBLE COURSE SECTION

 

    As you can see from above, no government has ever been more wicked than the Roman government, because they put to death the perfect Son of God -- that is even worse than the terrible sin of abortion today, which our government allows to continue. But over and over, Christians were commanded to pay the taxes due to that wicked government of Rome.

    The government can and should be held liable to its own laws. It does appear that the income tax system was brought into this country in an illegal manner. But the average person could not afford to take the government to court to prove it. But, yes, the government should be brought to task about the matter, and it should be resolved in a legal manner.

    The fact of the matter, though, is that if you could prove that the present income tax system was brought in illegally, and thus had it thrown out (and that is what should happen, if it indeed was wrongly instituted), it would quickly be replaced by another tax system. You cannot run your home without money, and the government cannot run without money, either. The government does provide us with some semblance of law and order, interstate road systems, etc. This nation has many grievous sins which will one day bring it down, but as of today, we have enjoyed the great grace of God upon us, and are still the most free and blessed nation upon earth (and Americans are taking it all for granted, and are living wicked, sinful lives).

    I would encourage you to read and re-read the New Testament, and see how the early Christians responded to the wicked Roman government. That is our pattern, and despite their oppression, the work of the Lord grew and multiplied. That is what is truly important, because there is never going to be a perfect government, until the Prince of Peace comes to rule and reign. Isaiah 9:6,7 says, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDER: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of HIS GOVERNMENT AND PEACE there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and TO ESTABLISH IT WITH JUDGMENT AND WITH JUSTICE from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

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